Rich nations rank as most water
U.S. Water News Online
LONDON -- Some of the world's richest countries --
including the United States and Japan -- lag behind some developing
nations in making the best use of water, according to a new grading
The United States was rated the world's most wasteful user of
water by the first Water Poverty Index.
Finland was ranked highest on the index, which graded 147
countries according to resources, access, capacity, use and
environmental impact. The rest of the top 10 were Canada, Iceland,
Norway, Guyana, Suriname, Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
The 10 countries at the bottom of the index were all from the
Third World: Haiti, Niger, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi, Djibouti, Chad,
Benin, Rwanda and Burundi.
Issues raised by the index are due to be discussed in March at the
World Water Forum in Japan.
``The links between poverty, social deprivation, environmental
integrity, water availability and health become clearer in the
(index), enabling policy makers and stakeholders to identify where
problems exist and the appropriate measures to deal with their
causes,'' said Caroline Sullivan, who led the team developing the
Water Poverty Index at the Center for Ecology & Hydrology in
Wallingford, England. The center is part of the British
government-funded Natural Environment Research Council.
A fifth of the world's population in 30 countries faced water
shortages in 2000, a figure that will rise to 30 percent of the
population, in 50 countries, by 2025, according to the World Water
Council based in Marseilles, France.
``Water demand is increasing three times as fast as the population
growth rate even though no new water can be created anywhere on this
planet,'' said World Water Council president Mahmoud Abu Zeid.
The Water Poverty Index assigns up to 20 points in each of its
five categories, meaning a country that meets the criteria in all
five categories would have a score of 100. The highest-ranking
country, Finland, has a Water Poverty Index of 78 points, while Haiti
Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Japan and Austria were rated tops in the
capacity category, which defines a country's level of ability to
purchase, manage and lobby for improved water, education and health.
The bottom five were Sierra Leone, Niger, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and
the Central African Republic, some of the world's poorest nations.
The United States was ranked 32nd overall in the index, but last
``The U.S. is at a relatively low position because of wasteful or
inefficient water use practices in domestic, industry and
agriculture,'' said William Cosgrove of the World Water Council
``This is illustrated by the fact that per capita water consumption
is the highest in the world.''
Japan ranked 34th, with a low score on environmental factors.
The World Water Council nonprofit, non-governmental organization
made up of 313 members, including U.N. agencies, other NGOs, and
public and private groups.
Return to the
U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.